Actress Betsy Landin of the Dolphin Tale series sat down with Young Adult Magazine to discuss her career, her character’s love of animals, and the message of Dolphin Tale. Real events paralleled the making of the sequel, which Betsy describes in the interview below.
YOUNG ADULT: Hi Betsy! What has been the best part of your Dolphin Tale experience? Especially now that there’s a sequel?
BETSY LANDIN: I’m so blessed to be a part of such an amazing story in which the sequel is based on true events just like the first. We’ve had the opportunity to bring a message of inspiration and now, one of hope. I think that’s the best part: Knowing that people will be uplifted after watching these films.
YA: Talk to us about your character in the film, Kat. What do you love about her, and what leaves you non-plussed?
BL: I play Kat, one of the dolphin trainers at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. One of the things I love most about her is her love for these animals and the fact that she is so dedicated to her work. I think in some ways she develops a motherly bond with Hope that you’ll be seeing throughout the film. The hardest part for me was doing the scene about Panama’s death. I remember getting the call from a producer’s assistant the day it happened. I was the first in the cast to find out and just remember crying for hours. I loved Panny and doing that scene with the trainers who had been there that day was tough. The emotion I felt that day was as real as the one you’ll see on the screen.
YA: What were/are you most excited see on the big screen this time around? And what are you excited for the audience to see in the film?
BL: I’m most excited for all of you to fall in love with little Hope just as you all did when you first met Winter on screen. Hope’s rescue is my favorite part in the movie. It’s amazing to know that those exact events took place on the night we wrapped the first film.
YA: What was the main difference shooting the sequel as opposed to the original?
BL: The biggest difference was that most of us all knew each other so we just jumped right back in. It felt like a family reunion and everybody was happy to be back working at such an amazing location with extraordinary animals and with such a talented group of people. As for me, one difference was that I got to meet and work with little Hope for the first time. This was her onscreen debut and she was amazing.
YA: Any fun stories happen off camera while on set?
BL: Everyday! When you’re working with animals, sometimes they just will do the funniest things. One day, in particular, on the first movie we were filming in a medicine pool while Winter was hanging out in the out pool. I think she noticed the cameras weren’t on her and proceeded to get on her mat to prop herself up while making tweety bird noises that seemed to say, “Hey! I’m over here!” We finally all lost it. It was hilarious!
YA: What has been the best acting or professional advice you’ve received?
BL: When it comes to acting… let it go. As artists, sometimes we are hardest on ourselves and it’s important to realize that we don’t have control over everything and perfection is just an illusion. The trick is to stay engaged in the moment, then leave it at the door. I think it can be applied to many areas of our lives.
YA: If you could play any role from any film or TV show in history, who would it be and why?
BL: Hands down Allie Hamilton, played by Rachel McAdams in The Notebook. I’ve watched that movie a zillion times and I still cry at the end. I just love the story.
YA: What would you say is your favorite YA story, book or film?
BL: I’d have to say I loved The Hunger Games series. I’m usually a fan of the books moreso than the movies, but the questions answered in the film that weren’t from Katniss’ perspective were awesome!